Former Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar has generated a different view towards the indefinite postponement of WAEC (West African Examinations Council) examinations by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu on Thursday.
In a series of tweets on Friday, Atiku posited that the cancellation of the school-leaving examinations will be directly against Nigeria’s best interests.
Atiku opined that Nigeria lags behind other African nations in crucial indices, including school enrolment, pass rates, and out-of-school children.
“This action will further create chaos in the public education system and exacerbate an already bad situation”, the former Vice-President said.
“1.5 million Nigerian youths write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination annually. To abruptly cancel this examination is to set back our nation’s youth, and place them behind their contemporaries in other West African countries”, he reiterated.
Atiku noted the move as “perilous”, saying Foreign Direct Investments and other economic indicators are tied to the educational indexes of nations.
Atiku expressed concerns on the effects of the the indefinite cancellations, saying:
“As a parent and investor in the education sector, I wish to register that the Nigerian government’s policy of unilaterally cancelling the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, held annually by the West African Examinations Council, is not in Nigeria’s best interest”.
“At a time of the global COVID19 pandemic, it is understandable that an abundance of caution be put in place to save lives. However, caution, without consultation, and thoughtful action, may be counterproductive”.
~There are better ways, Atiku says~
The former Vice-President said rather than cancellation, there are better ways to protect the health of Nigerians and prevent the pandemic from escalating.
“We could mobilise all available public & private infrastructures, including primary schools, stadia, and cinemas, for the examinations. In the alternative, the Federal Government can prevail on WAEC to have staggered examinations with a different set of questions for each shift”, he said.
According to him, that move would allow WAEC Nigeria to implement social distancing and achieve the goal of carrying out the examinations.
“I urge this administration to take into account that the lives they are trying to save will be further put at risk because if this policy is not reversed, tens of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, will breach social distancing rules to cross over to neighbouring West African nations to write their WASSCE, rather than miss a year”– Atiku Abubakar.